|Publication number||US7675923 B2|
|Application number||US 10/997,482|
|Publication date||Mar 9, 2010|
|Filing date||Nov 24, 2004|
|Priority date||Nov 24, 2004|
|Also published as||EP1817882A2, EP1817882A4, EP1817882B1, US20060120386, WO2006057791A2, WO2006057791A3|
|Publication number||10997482, 997482, US 7675923 B2, US 7675923B2, US-B2-7675923, US7675923 B2, US7675923B2|
|Inventors||Steven K. Rossi, Jay R. Almaula, Pekin E. Eren, Daniel F. Stewart, Joseph F. Wodka|
|Original Assignee||General Instrument Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (18), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (16), Classifications (17), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application relates, in part, to Ser. No. 10/997,444 entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS TO FACILITATE UNIVERSAL PLUG AND PLAY BETWEEN DIFFERENT LOCAL NETWORKS and filed on even date herewith, the contents of which are incorporated herein by this reference.
This invention relates generally to networked communications and more particularly to communications as between two discrete privately addressed networks.
Local communication networks of various kinds are known. In more recent times, residential home networks are being installed in increasing numbers. Such home networks, in turn, are facilitating the use of a variety of devices that source and/or utilize various kinds of digital content including such devices as a media receiver. In particular, home networks are proving to be a powerful and convenient way to share various kinds of digital content (such as music, video, and still images) at various locations throughout a given residence.
At present, communications are possible as between two such home networks, but those communications remain relatively limited with respect to supported capabilities. As one simple example, it is relatively difficult to logically connect two home networks in a manner that permits digital content on one home network to be readily and conveniently shared with the elements that comprise the other home network. Easy and convenient content sharing as described earlier continues to remain relatively limited due to the confines of a single home network.
In many cases existing home networks make use of a residential gateway having a dynamic public network address. Such residential gateways typically perform network address translation to map a range of local addresses inside of the gateway (i.e., on the home network side of the gateway) to one single address on the public network side of the gateway. In many cases these local addresses as specified within a given home network will likely overlap the local addresses as are used by one or more (and usually many more) other home networks. This likely overlapping of utilized addresses comprises at least one aspect of why difficulties exist with respect to facilitating convenient and relatively easy sharing as between the devices that comprise a plurality of discrete home networks.
The above needs are at least partially met through provision of the home network bridge-based communications method and apparatus described in the following detailed description, particularly when studied in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:
Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions and/or relative positioning of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of various embodiments of the present invention. Also, common but well-understood elements that are useful or necessary in a commercially feasible embodiment are often not depicted in order to facilitate a less obstructed view of these various embodiments of the present invention. It will also be understood that the terms and expressions used herein have the ordinary meaning as is accorded to such terms and expressions with respect to their corresponding respective areas of inquiry and study except where specific meanings have otherwise been set forth herein.
Generally speaking, pursuant to these various embodiments, communications are facilitated as between devices of two discrete privately addressed networks, wherein each of the two discrete privately addressed networks are coupled via a publicly addressed network and a corresponding gateway for each of the privately addressed networks. Each of the two discrete privately addressed networks are provided with a privately addressed home network bridge that couples to a respective one of the gateways. In a preferred approach a network tunnel connection is established between these two home network bridges via these gateways and at least one of the home network bridges is caused to serve as a proxy, via the remote privately addressed home network bridge, for devices of the remote discrete privately addressed network and as a router to route communications sourced by the devices of the remote discrete privately addressed network to devices of the local discrete privately addressed network.
In a preferred approach, such a home network bridge maps each of the private network addresses as are assigned within the remote discrete privately addressed network to a locally available private network address within the local discrete privately addressed network. So configured, the home network bridge can translate and/or modify source and/or destination addresses as appropriate to permit both reliable and accurate transport over an intervening public extranet fabric (such as the Internet) and reliable and accurate delivery of a message to a specific device within a remote and discrete privately addressed network. In a preferred approach this occurs in a manner that is substantially transparent to the communicating devices.
So configured, privately addressed devices serviced by discrete privately addressed networks are able to share digital content with one another as though they were a part of a common privately addressed network.
These and other benefits may become clearer upon making a thorough review and study of the following detailed description. Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to
In this example, at least a second privately addressed home network also couples to the Internet 13 via its own residential gateway 14 which in turn provides Internet access and private address services to one or more network devices 15 as comprise the user population of this second privately addressed home network.
In this embodiment, each of the home networks further comprises a corresponding home network bridge 16 and 17. Depending upon the architectural choices and options available in a given application, such a home network bridge 16 can comprise a stand-alone platform (as is somewhat suggested by the illustration) or can be integrated 18 with one or more other elements within the privately addressed home network. For example, a residential gateway will typically comprise a partially or wholly programmable platform and hence those skilled in the art will recognize that the home network bridge functionality described herein can be partially or wholly incorporated into such an element.
In these embodiments, and referring now to
As will be described below in more detail, these home network bridges facilitate such client/server behavior, at least in part, by mapping the private network addresses as are assigned within an opposing privately addressed network to locally available private network addresses within their own home privately addressed network. The resultant map is then used to translate and/or modify addresses as are included with source and/or destination address message content.
So configured, these home network bridges will readily facilitate communications and digital content sharing between network devices of differing privately addressed networks in a transparent and dynamic manner such that the network devices all appear to one another as though they are part of a same shared privately addressed network. Various benefits result including avoidance of any need to modify or reprogram the network devices themselves to participate in such activities.
Additional Details are Now Presented.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Pursuant to a preferred approach, a first home network bridge sends 41 private network addresses as are assigned to devices within its own privately addressed home network to an opposing home network bridge via the previously established network tunnel connection. This permits the opposing home network bridge to use such private network addresses in a mapping activity described below. And, somewhat similarly, this first home network bridge receives 42 private network addresses as are assigned within the opposing privately addressed network for devices of that opposing privately addressed network and as are transmitted to the first home network bridge by the opposing home network bridge. This permits this first home network bridge to also use such private network addresses in the mapping activity described below.
An exchange of such private addresses for devices of discrete and separate privately addressed networks can be subsequently leveraged in various ways to the benefit of one or both such networks. Pursuant to an optional but preferred course of action, the first home network bridge maps 43 each of the private network addresses as are assigned within the opposing privately addressed network to a locally available private network address within its own corresponding privately addressed network. For example, and referring momentarily to
For example, as illustrated, local address 4 is now mapped and assigned to remote address 1 as corresponds to a first remote network device while local address X is assigned to remote address Y as corresponds to a Zth remote network device. (Those skilled in the art will recognize that not all such candidate remote network devices are necessarily correlated to a local private address in this way. There may, for example, be an insufficient number of local private addresses to support such an approach. As another example, there may be specific network devices within the opposing network for which such services are to be denied for some previously identified administrative purpose.) It will be understood that inclusion of local address assignment to local network devices and entities reflects an a priori process and state and hence such information may likely not be necessary to include in such a map 50. For example, the residential gateway itself likely contains such information should it be required by the home network bridge.
Referring again to
For example, upon receiving 44 a message from one of the network devices as comprises a part of the home privately addressed network, which message comprises, at least in part, a destination address comprising a given one of the locally available private network addresses and a source address comprising a local private address for the device itself, the home network bridge uses 45 the mapping information to correlate the destination address with a particular private network address as is assigned within the destination privately addressed network to a target network device. To illustrate, when the destination address comprises local address 4 as illustrated in
The home network bridge then uses 46 uses the previously established network tunnel connection to forward a version of the message to the first remote network device using a translated destination address comprising the particular private network address as is assigned within the destination privately addressed network to the target network device. In a preferred approach, the home network bridge also uses the source address which comprises the local private network address for the source network device. Use of the actual private network address for the target network device permits the opposing home network bridge, upon receipt of this message, to properly direct the message to this particular target network device.
When the received message 44 comprises a message as was received via the network tunnel connection and as was sourced by a given device of the opposing privately addressed network, the home network bridge again makes use 47 of the map. In this case, however, the home network bridge uses the map to correlate a particular private network address as is assigned within the opposing privately addressed network for the given device with a specific one of the locally available private network addresses as is now assigned via the mapping process within the local privately addressed network. For example, and referring again to the illustrative example portrayed in
The home network bridge then modifies 48 the received message by substituting the specific one of the locally available private network private addresses for a source address as comprised a part of the received message. Routing of the modified message is then facilitated 49 by forwarding the modified message to the local target network device while also portraying the source as comprising a local network device having a local private address.
So configured, the various network devices of a plurality of distinct and unrelated private networks can communicate with one another as though they were all part of a single shared private network. Such communications require no specific alteration of the network devices themselves as they can essentially continue to communicate in their ordinary and regular manner. In effect, by configuring and adapting the home network bridges to serve as a proxy for devices of an opposing privately addressed network and as a router to effect local routing of externally sourced messages, the devices of both privately addressed networks are privately addressable within the context and administration of their own home network.
Such home network bridges require no service or protocol support from their respective residential gateways beyond that which is standard and already available with such network elements. Consequently these teachings are readily applicable with legacy infrastructure that is already in place in numerous homes. Those skilled in the art will also understand and appreciate that such home network bridges will require little or no user administration to establish and maintain remote communications of the type described herein. For the interested reader, co-pending application XXX as was referred to earlier provides teachings with respect to the use of so-called UPnP techniques as a specific way to facilitate communications between and via the residential gateway.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that a wide variety of modifications, alterations, and combinations can be made with respect to the above described embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, and that such modifications, alterations, and combinations are to be viewed as being within the ambit of the inventive concept.
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|U.S. Classification||370/401, 370/409|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L12/4625, H04L12/2834, H04L29/12424, H04L12/2832, H04L12/2803, H04L12/4633, H04L61/2535|
|European Classification||H04L61/25A2D, H04L12/46B7B, H04L12/28H, H04L29/12A4A2D, H04L12/28H5B, H04L12/46E, H04L12/28H5A|
|Nov 24, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MOTOROLA, INC., ILLINOIS
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Owner name: MOTOROLA, INC.,ILLINOIS
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|Dec 13, 2010||AS||Assignment|
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